Cody Snow and Junior Nogueira bested the field of 137 teams to win the first-ever Cody NesSmith Memorial Bill Fick Ford Open, produced by Colby Lovell and Hill Rodeo Cattle, in Buffalo, Texas, on Monday, May 31, 2021. The pair roped their fifth steer in 4.68 seconds to win the roping with a time of 30.15 seconds on five head, worth $30,000 for the team.
The roping was produced in honor of Cody NesSmith—a cowboy and friend to many, who lost his life on July 6, 2020, to Ewing’s Sarcoma, a bone cancer mainly found in children.
“It was a top-of-the-line production,” said Snow, the 2019 NFR Average Champion Header. “We just tried to catch our steers as fast as we could. Junior did a good job all day. We wanted to be aggressive going into the fourth steer because we were already 19 and we went 4.6 to put us second high call back. We drew a good steer and made a good, smooth run.”
“I bet [Cody] was just tickled to death watching everything,” Nogueira said with a smile. “It was a beautiful roping. One thing that made me be more at peace is that we know he’s in a better place and one day we all will be together with the Lord. That roping they put together was one of his wishes and it’s going to be a huge roping, I promise. To win the first one was a blessing. That was a God thing—unbelievable.”
Originally advertised with $7,500 added, the payout increased by $22,500 the week prior to the event, totaling $30,000 to ropers. But during the opening ceremonies, announcers Ferron Lucero and Ben Clements shared the roping had another $5,000 added to the $30,000. Then, just before the short round, ropers were backing in the box with a whopping $40,000 added.
Nogueira was impressed with the efforts required to produce such a great event.
“Thanks to Lovell and Cody’s Family,” he said. “Bobby Joe brought great steers and he and his family have been a part of it. All of the families were working. Nobody saw that. Thank you to the sponsors that stepped up to add that money.”
The win was bittersweet for Snow and Nogueira, who both befriended NesSmith before his passing.
“I met him when me and Junior buddied with Lovell and Paul,” Snow said. “I met Cody at Caldwell (Idaho) and talked to him for a long time one day. He was just happy, and it sucked to see someone my age in a situation like that. He always had a good attitude. This roping meant a lot.”
Nogueira kept in touch with Cody regularly and partnered with him for his final team roping run.
“I talked to him a couple of times and prayed with him,” Nogueira said. I would keep him in mind and text him and, one day, Lovell called me and he said, ‘He got out of the hospital and he’s feeling good. He really wants to go [to the Patriot roping] and rope.’ Lovell brought him and his horse over. A lot of people made sure that it happened, and I made sure that I roped with him.”
After the win, Cody’s parents, Tony and Kay, surprised Nogueira with a photo from that run for him to sign.
“When we went to take a picture, [Cody’s] mom and dad had a picture of the last steer he roped, which was the steer he roped with me at the competition,” Nogueira said, fighting tears. “That melts my heart, too. I wasn’t that big of a part of his story, but I was closer to him.”
NesSmith’s fortitude made an impression on both Snow and Nogueira, who each lost their dads at a young age.
“To be honest, me and Snow have more emotions and a little temper,” Nogueira said. “We know sometimes stuff doesn’t go good and we get sad. It’s not easy out here. You’re up against the best of the best every single day and they’re working hard at it. Some days you feel great and some days you want to throw a fit, give up and get sad. You stop and think about it and Cody never complained one day. He loved every single day of his life and he tried hard.
“When you look at a young guy fighting all the way through—and he knew he didn’t have that much life left; he lived every bit of it—it makes you really think about it.”
“He said it,” Snow agreed, at a loss for words, “He said it.”